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  CSPAN    Washington Journal    News/Business. Journalists and  
   policy-makers take viewer questions; newspaper articles.  

    July 25, 2011
    7:00 - 10:00am EDT  

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nation's debt crisis. examines same-erg sex marriage across the u.s. later, national journal reporter looks at spending and overspending at the pentagon. "washington journal" is next. >> good morning. july 25, 2011. we can congress begins without a deal to raise the debt limit. timothy geithner has warned on august 2, the nation risks of defaulting. we're watching to see all the asian markets reacted overnight and how things look as the market's open in the u.s. this morning. we want to hear from you how the debt limit deadline is
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affecting your financial decision. here are the numbers to call -- you can e-mail us also. you can also find us on twitter. facebook. on you can leave your comment there this morning. is the debt limit deadline affecting their financial decisions? eight days away to the white house has warned the u.s. could the fall. take a look at the new york times story. as congress and president obama failed yet again to break thursday night over the debt limit, wall street and washington turned current attention to a critical question: how long will investors give them? early reaction to the gridlock
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indicated worries and a global markets with the dollar losing ground to an index of currencies, the nine states stock futures -- in london stock futures. chief investment strategist at the davidson companies, brokerage and money-management firm in montana said -- it would not be surprising to see a little bit of global reaction to the fact that there's no sign of an agreement. to talk us through what is going on regarding potential deals to raise the debt limit and bring down the national debt, we have on the phone, alexander bolton, a staff writer for "the hill." thank you for joining us. take us where we are it this morning. there's a lot of talk shows speaker boehner and president obama had hoped to see something hammered out by last night. that did not happen.
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where do we stand this morning? >> talks have broken down. now the senate democrats and house republicans are on different paths. it looks like leaders in both chambers are pursuing the strategy of passing legislation to raise the debt limit that the other side is not going to like, then sending it across the capitol to the other chamber, during their fellows in the other chamber to vote it down. what harry reid is putting together is trying to put together something that would raise the debt ceiling by $2.40 trillion, which is what is needed to take a spin on the 2012 election. he has already identified one puff $5 trillion in spending cuts and now needs to find another -- $1.50 trillion in spending cuts. we do not know exactly what is going to do, but is expected he is going to count winding down
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the war in afghanistan as a substantial part of the savings. that could be worth about $1 trillion over 10 years. meanwhile, john boehner is working on his own deficit- reduction debt limit increase plan. he would take -- that plan would be affected in two stages. the first would be $900 trillion or so deficit reduction package, spending cuts, paired with roughly equal amount in debt limit increase. then he would empower a special committee to find an additional $1.60 trillion to authorize or trigger another increase in the debt ceiling. the problem with this proposal, however, it would require raising the debt ceiling by the
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requisite $2.40 trillion amount into the stages. that is something the president and democratic leaders after yesterday's said is a nonstarter. they say it would create too much uncertainty for the marketplace and the economy if this process had to be replaced at the beginning of next year or summer of next year. >> the house republicans made their own at last it with a cap and balance plan that did not make it to the senate. the president has said he would have vetoed it anyway. is this seen as sort of a retread of the house republicans going their own way regardless of the lack of support in the other chamber? guest: well, yes, that is true. it is to the democrats are moving in with the plan that is not likely to have support in the lower chamber.
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this game of chicken has continued and will likely continue through the end of the week unless there is a negotiated compromise. right now, both chambers are moving on separate tracks. i think they're both thinking, once we send our pass our plan and send it to the other chamber, it will have a tough time voting it down. and if they do, they can be blamed for stalling the economy, causing a national default. the two chambers are on a collision course right now. on the other hand, they or continuing to talk on the scene. they realize they do not want to have -- they realize both parties will be blamed and it is bad for pretty much everyone if there is an economic disaster as a result of failure to reach an agreement. john boehner and harry reid are talking and will talk around the clock.
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they have a pretty strong relationship. they established some trust in april when they worked to avoid the government shutdown because of the impasse of the 2011 spending bill. or spending levels. they will continue to try to find a negotiated compromise. but they are living on separate tracks. host: is there a chance a short- term deal could surface? many folks involved said they prefer not to see that happen, but might that be a more realistic alternative to plans that developing in the house and senate? guest: white house chief of staff said yesterday obama would veto that. obama has been firmed throughout this debate he would veto a short-term debt limit increase. the problem from the standpoint of the administration is if you think it is tough now to get this increased, imagine in an election year? it will be even tougher.
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they do not want this fight next year. republicans are happy to have this fight again next year, something they can campaign on for november 2012. yes, it is something republicans are we want and they will be pushing this week. obama has been firm. he will veto a short-term increase in the debt limit. host: publications have reported the white house was patel -- a relatively lying low. the president did meet with the democratic leaders. after on friday, he was heard a lot less this weekend. how much of the activity took place among the members of congress versus over in the white house? do you expect to see that pattern continued this week? guest: well, you are right. the president played a lower public role, less of an active public role this weekend. on the other hand, at the end of
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the weekend, nancy pelosi and harry reid met with him and talk the bottom line. he is very much involved. whatever passes both chambers of congress will have to pass the president. obama may take a lower profile public glee as he has brought much of the debt limit debate, -- publicly ses threat much of the debt limit debate. i think he prefers -- i did his preferred scenario is to have democrats and republicans duking it out in the congress and then he can, in as the reconcile our, conciliator, father figure and, in and use his leverage, which is best saved until the end. that is something he did in april when he stepped in for late in the process to create the settlement between republicans and democrats on
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avoiding a government shutdown. host: how you feel the mood is in the capital? members will be returning -- you are working this week to see what was going on the leadership, but how is the general mood compared to a week ago? this tension ramping up or has it been steady for the last little while? guest: the changing noticed is democrats are getting increasingly angry. they have sort of been casting about for what their position should be in this debate. they have had a problem with the unity on some issues of the deficit reduction. as republicans continue to drive a hard bargain, the democrats are becoming more angry and beginning to coalesce.
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they're becoming less trustful or less trusting of the president to basically back them up or push for the outcome that they want to see. democrats are certainly getting angrier and feistier. republicans have been unified to date, but it will be interesting to see if they remain unified. speaker boehner will be meeting with this conference today and will have to sell them on the two-stage debt limit increase i discussed. that is not popular or will not be popular to many conservatives. in fact, at the end of last week, senate and house conservatives were talking about a plan to put a cap -- put cut, cap and balance back on the floor. the remains a sizable faction of house conservatives who want to insist on that cut, cap and balance plan, which would require the passage of a balanced amendment before
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raising the debt ceiling. as to get closer to the deadline, i could republicans more toward the center of the ideological spectrum will be more willing to compromise and more willing to use or take an alternative path committee along the lines of what speaker boehner has proposed. boehner has a pretty big job on his hands of maintaining that republican unity that we have seen so far at a time when democratic kennedy is coalescing because of anger over how these talks have gone. host: alexander blogging, thank you. our question this morning is, with the debt limit is affecting more financial decisions. let's go to cleveland, ohio on the democratic line. caller: good morning. host: is it affecting your financial decisions? caller: at this point, no permit but i am living on a fixed income. i am very much worried about
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whether or not this debt limit will be raised or not to coz i know the treasury department is going to have to make some decisions if it is not raced. i am confident social security recipients will receive their cash benefits. i am also confident those who are desperately in need of their money will receive their benefits. i am confident president obama and the democratic party are going to look out for the needy but i am highly unsettled about what is going on. mr. bolton made the fact that i do not think this debt limit is so much about the united states as it is unseating president obama. they absolutely do want this to go into the 2012 election, which i think is very meanspirited. to put the elderly, disabled,
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and the poor at risk for the soul's sake of unseating president. , worried about it? i am not worried because i think there's going to be a resolution. i hope the democrats stand firm. host: thank you. republican, daniel, indiana. go ahead. caller: with all the problems concerning the debt, the monetary system in which was created under woodrow wilson, there are many problems disconnecting not only washington, a local governments from their people. it completely has bridged constitutional liberties and our country was founded on 235 years ago. -- has an abridged constitutional liberties are country was founded on 235 years
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ago. since making the process to create a solution and our country today is disconnecting itself from the citizens and which have a vision for the future of our country. there is a lot of talk going around. it is about time we all come out together and create a real solution with the young people are involved, even if we are not going to a four-year school, even if we are not going to, in no, everything. anyway. hold on. let me backtrack. host: is this affecting their financial decisions? caller: currently, i have no financial decisions. i was on social security for four years. i am unable to get a job in my community. host: if he had been on social security, and you have concerns the check may not come through? caller: i'm no longer on it.
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when i turned 18, it was cut off. i could have still got a check, however, i have been handed everything my entire life. i am like another christmas can. i do not know if you recall him. host: bob, cincinnati, ohio. turn down your tv for us. caller: i am bob lewis from cincinnati, ohio. i looked at the republican side, democratic side, and i am sick and tired of this slice of the pie of the american citizen. i am retired. first after the baby boomers coming to the system. wherever slowly being attacked and sliced up by the government. host: what you think about the debt limit potential to default?
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is it affecting their financial life? caller: yes. when you look at the pike, the federal government which is one of the biggest expenses we have, i cannot use the word "froze their wages," but they have taken their raises spread the benefits constantly improve. the pinch as you get for being a democrat republican the less the pensions to get -- the pensions you get are amazing. we do not have this. what is really being talked about is my children, who are 35-40 years old, and our grandchildren will have to pay for this. if you look at the labor history of the united states from the turn of the 20th-century up until just before world war ii, you'll find out how this opposes big boys ran the country. now we're running back in the ground. it does not work.
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the guys at my age and the guys behind us worked for 40 years. we paid into this religiously. we had no way out. we could not pay out. now we have the big boys with several zeros in their back pocket for their money convey this out -- there was a show that says, they pay out in less than today's sometimes. across the board, everybody gets it. everybody pays. take the federal employees and put them and the samepie. let's have them paid their parts of their retirement, have them pay their benefits and health and welfare, and make it an even routine. host: we're talking about what your financial decisions are being affected by the debt limit deadline, august 2. let's hear from the president's chief of staff william daley and "face the nation" yesterday talking about the impact of
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financial markets. >> i think remains an uncertain situation. to guess with the remark as are going to do. in the end, the congress must pass this. it is their responsibility to extend the debt ceiling. so my sense is in the end, they will act. we may have a few stressful days coming up and stressful for the markets of the world and the american people. host: chief of staff talking yesterday on cbs. let's go to louisiana, democrat caller. caller: could morning. i have a message pretty please, let me finish if you do not mind. at a message for the president. instead of negotiating with the republican party, co-head and negotiate with the head of the committee. the two koreas nothing but
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rubber-stamp print they get their information from the -- they are nothing but the rubber stamp. they get their information from rush limbaugh. the republican party can stay home and collect their checks their whole goal is to make sure the president is a one-term president. host: we're talking how your financial decisions may be affected by the debt limit. asian stock markets fell monday after his political leaders failed to reach a deal to raise washington debt limit that is crucial to avoiding an impending default. japan was up 5.8% and china slid 2.1%. hong kong index lost 0.8%. elsewhere, south korea's index lost 0.8% and australia did as well. good morning, independent line. are your financial decisions being affected right now?
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caller: everybody has been since 2007, beginning with when they gave back the incentive for the taxes. they gave more money to the rich than the port. any turnaround and they did the bank bailout. why did they not turn around and bailout homes. they could have built up three under 50,000 families instead of the bank. they help out haiti. they send out $290 million to a place that has 97 million people. that is over $2 million per person. host: how is it affecting you personally? caller: i broke my back in 2007. social security tormented live under a tree. we give our money to other people. host: jim, quincy, illinois, republican. caller: my concern is the fact
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congress is not using the system set up by the constitution to solve this problem. with a cut, cap, and balance bill that has been passed by partisanship-wise, including the tea party. they inspired this, in fact. all of the senators tabled it. what has to be done, the senate would have to make a motion to take off the table and then they could modify this amendment and discussion to the point where they can both agree on at that point, it would go to the president's and he could sign in. the question is, how does it affect me? well, i do have some stocks. it will affect our family that
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way. host: since you do have stock the-we will go on to richmond, virginia. if you have stocks i jim, is that affecting your investments? are you thinking about moving them around or pull them out? we had someone on twitter that he or she was planning to take -- one more trip to the bank and then all my money will be buried in the back yard. is she joking or not? let us know if this is affecting you in terms of investments. caller: how are you? we're talking about people overseas. what about us in america? we have homeless people. it is sad. every day i see people homeless. i am dam near homeless, too. i get unemployment.
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i have worked all my life. host: kathy, i am sorry to hear that. take a look at an e-mail they came in from seattle. boston, massachusetts, chris, independent it what do you think? caller: i think the whole fear and discussion of armageddon, calling the debt ceiling crisis is contrived. really, it is just a discussion of whether or not we are going to default. we already have. we're defaulting constantly. we are default when we borrow money from china, when the fed
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prints more money. we're not going to be able to pay back our debt. this is just gamesmanship. it is telling old people their checks will not come in the mail. they will come in the mail. that is not why we are going to the fall. -- default. host: are you changing your buying habits, your investments, saving money at all? it sounds like you're not too concerned. caller: i am pretty much playing the dip in u.s. dollar, in the treasury's right now. inevitably, they're going to come to some kind of conclusion that raises the debt limit because they want to read the gravy train as long as it possibly can. host: john, republican,
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pennsylvania. caller: i have changed tremendously. i do not own any stocks. i definitely want to stay away from bonds because they're going to crash. i put all my money in gold and silver. the silver is in the form of u.s. coins. also have six months of food in the dock. this will come down and it will be bad. the currency we're using now will crash due to the fed and flooding at all. i want to be prepared. host: when did you start preparing? caller: 3 years ago. host: what spurred it along? caller: i saw the inflationary tendencies coming. they will get worse if they go with qe3. it is not going to get better. if they default, and it's all of the bonds will be trashed. host: take a look at the new york times.
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the greatest insight in the markets is that investors will lose confidence in treasurys and move toward selling them, which would drive their values down and their rates up. it is often difficult contemporaneously pinpoint when the panic begins. the financial crisis in 2008, for instance, is often dated to the summer of 2007, but it did not result in a full-fledged market counts for more than a year. many government officials said the situation is under control. the situation in the u.s. does carry some of the classic ingredients for flurries of selling financial historians said. panic sometimes occurs when an asset that is considered perfectly said comes in a questioned imprint other conditions for financial mayhem include excessive speculation in a sort of investment -- often one thought to be very said -- and sometimes low interest rates. some historians also believe the markets have become more panic prone than they once were, in part because of the mass of cash that has poured into recent
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decades and short-term investments like money market funds. our democrat line, i your financial decisions changing? turn down your tv for us. caller: turn it off? host: turn it down. you are on. caller: my name is scott persons. host: please go ahead. turn down your tv and talk to us. i think we lost him. moving on to john, north carolina. good morning. go ahead. caller: first of all, people in the united states and nothing but -- people just talk, not do. people come on tv and talk and talk. they ain't going to do nothing. first of all, they should have
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seen this when this started getting -- when social security for started getting out of it is like the fox in the chicken halves. if you do not stop him, he will go back and did two or three more chickens crude that is all i have got to say. host: republican line, indiana. are you with us? you're on the air. is this affecting their financial decisions? caller: it affects me physically and mentally because i am very old, 86 years old. i worry about my family. hello? am i on? host: we're listening to you. caller: it affects a physically and mentally. i worry. i worry about my country and my family. it actually makes me ill.
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why -- how can we give what we do not have? no one cares more about the poor, the needy, the helpless than i do. it is my life. but how can we help them if we do not have it? i think of my parents to in the depression. my mother, they gave, and gave, gave to help their neighbors they gave what they had. you do not go to the bank and borrow in order to be kind and benevolent. this is where we are with our nation. i just do not want to see this blame game. no one can do a thing about it. until we change the situation. that is, at the spending. it has to be at the level of what we have. this is my concern. until it is resolved, the old
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guy is getting more worried and a little sicker every day. thank you. host: let's hear from house speaker john boehner on fox news sunday, talking about the previous deal that was being worked on. >> it may be pretty hard to put, too dumb to back together again. -- humpty dumpty back together again. i have never taken my last offer off the table and they have never agreed to it. >> $800 billion in new revenue and entitlement cuts, spending cuts, that is still on the table? >> still on the table. again, i think a better path forward at this moment would be to work with my bipartisan congressional leaders and my republican colleagues in the house to put together a process that is doable. host: john boehner yesterday on fox. new york city, a democrat line.
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caller: good morning. let me make a point before i introduce my thought, to the man. the stomach is not over. the-the stalemate is not over. the republicans are not willing to increase the taxes on the rich. that is the problem. how this is affecting me personally, i have a brain injury and i received money every month. i live in federally funded housing development. if i do not get my check, they do not get paid. the truth is, this whole thing is making the decisions for me. there is no decision for me to make because there's nothing for
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me to work with. new york city housing authority, just now you'll not get paid if they do not send the checks. have a good day. host: independent, in new hampshire. good morning. caller: i am just as upset as the last caller. i fully agree with that. speaker boehner is upset because one of the conditions is taxing the rich, something that is not even going to hurt them. what is very upsetting is that they may have paid for his campaign, but it was the lord, middle-class, and poor people that voted for him to get in there with all of his empty promises. just because he signed a pledge saying, no more taxes, does not mean he cannot hold on the promises he made to the american
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people. that everything they're doing it affects me. i have a neurological disorder. i never thought i would be disabled at such a young age, and i am. they cut social security and my husband and i already are doing the best we can with what little we have to support our house. we are in jeopardy of losing our house because the banks do not want to help. that was bush's thing. the banks are supposed to help us. nobody is helping us. so this affects everyone. host: thank you for your call. let's take a look at the baltimore sun. you can see the national debt clock showing the $14.30 trillion amount sunday in new york city. treasury secretary timothy geithner said, we're running out
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of runway. he says to assess eight days to raise the debt limit before the deadline. congressional leaders on sunday missed a self-imposed weekend deadline for reaching a debt agreement that would stave off federal default leaving democrats and republicans a line behind competing proposals and the deadline just days away. and knowledge in the potential financial impact of the ongoing standoff over the debt limit, republican leaders in the house hope to announce a breakthrough in bipartisan talks before asian financial markets opened sunday evening in the u.s. as the day wore on, no deal emerged. the sides met separately to discuss strategy instead of a tentative agreement. republican line. good morning. caller: i feel like i'm going to steer clear of wall street in general because of the bubbles they have created and will continue to create. it is never going to end. as for black friday, i am not
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one to buy anything. i implore other citizens not to buy a thing. i feel as consumers, many to question more about what we're consuming and 9/11 was an inside job. host: let's go to a reporter who can shed some light what is going on. business week, senior writer joins us. good morning. thank you for talking with us. we want to seek your expertise as a reporter covering this, to get a sense of how things are looking. the asian markets, people watching close when they opened and closed. how with the outcome of their trading day compared to what people were concerned about? guest: the markets have been quite skeptical this is a real deadline looming in washington, d.c. the test and has been we're getting histrionics more than
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anything else. as august 2nd approaches and as you secret lock take called for the balance of the week, you are going to see credit markets tighten, see people get out of risky trades, just to cover themselves in the event of the unthinkable. host: what is the biggest thing to be watching? is a futures or are the king that the stock market for a certain element of it like bonds? guest: the interesting thing about it, as a country when we are running such a surplus 12 to 13 years ago, a 10-year bond yields were more significantly higher. 515%. now they are closer to 3%. -- 5.5%. now there are closer to 3%. it shows people have been content to park their money in 10-year bond for a low yield.
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it does not keep the seat on this but what does bond -- it does not keep washington, d.c. on this. it is a paradox. it is something you would think that happen averse to this, bonior low. host: how closely as washington watching washington? i spoke to the republican his said, the boy who cried wolf syndrome rid that it would take wall street a while to realize we do not have an agreement. are they taking this seriously? guest: it is really taking the psychology serious. timothy geithner and some of the staffers in the gop on the hill might be saying some, we make it -- we may make it the broader
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look, what is going happen with credit cards, on a lunch? our banks from the sec, we will not extend that much more and way increase -- our banks may say, we will not extend that much more credit and criminally. -- it currently. host: here asking you if your financial decisions are being affected by what is going on right now approaching the debt limit deadline. is wall street having concerns that investors might start pulling their money out of the market? what are they looking at as far as the contents of american citizens and focusing on american citizens rather than abroad? guest: on the one hand you have gold breaking all-time highs. the reflects concern of the printing of ever more dollars.
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you have commodities at highs, food prices higher. then the have risky investments during deal-doing quite well it is of bifurcate of wall street. it is not reacting to this whole debt impasse with bated breath. not yet, at least. host: kiki for joining us this morning. -- thank you for joining us this morning. we're asking the question, are your financial decisions being affected by the looming debt limit deadline? caller: yes, they are. i'm not in any of my credit card debt until i see if i'm getting a social security check. all i campaign is the house payment, -- clamping is the house payment, car payments, and making sure i have enough food to eat. i am not going to pay. i do not know when i would get
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another check. that is how it is affecting me. my first decision is to take care of my household. host: have you talked your credit card company? caller: when they call, i tell them i'm not paying. i hope they call. i hope they call the government and let them know what is going on. these banking people, congressman, senators. i hope they listen to them. settled this spread raise taxes on the rich. that is the bottom line. get rid of the the polls. these people need to pay their fair share. general electric paid zero and taxes last year. there's something wrong with this picture. and many have warned buffett's secretary -- you have warned buckets secretary paying more than warren buffett? there's something wrong here. host: it's go to another store,
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the san francisco chronicle. s&p has said avoiding a potential default is enough to avoid a downgrade in any case, analysts say many on wall street remain confident that washington will cut a last-minute deal to raise the debt limit before the government runs short to get all government bills and interest on existing debt but not as much confidence about the efforts to reach an agreement on debt reduction. the other shoe. let's go to santa cruz, california, independent. caller: good morning. with whom am i talking to? host: c-span "washington journal." what do you think, richard? caller: well, i do not have a lot of confidence that wall
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street does that we will reach an agreement. i believe the republicans are intent upon wrecking the united states train said the king to the engineer fired -- so they can get the engineer fired in november 2012. and they really do not care what happens to the u.s. in line host: that's here from a republican. turn down your tv for us. adam, we're going to go on to our democrat line in georgia. caller: good morning. listen, i am disappointed and our government and politicians.
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they're not been responsible enough to us. they're not doing what they need to do to help us. going back 20 years ago, nafta really cut our throats. it has affected our country tremendously. host: but are your own personal finances affected? caller: of course, everyone is. our politicians are not responsible to us, but to each other. this is what needs to be corrected. they need to be responsible to us. they need to report to the american public. they are not but they are not even taking salary cuts. host: let's take a look at some other stories. u.s. cash said to be reaching the taliban, yearlong military that investigation concluded u.s. taxpayer money has been
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indirectly funneled to the taliban under 2.1 $6 billion transportation contacted the u.s. has funded in part to promote afghan business. another piece in international news, the u.s. has invited a north korean official to new york for talks. the vice foreign minister will visit for a rare meeting that could pave the way for resumption of multinational denuclearization talks secretary of state clinton said on sunday. and politics, congressman wu faces calls to step down print reports the democratic u.s. representative and the portland, oregon area, calls for his resignation from some in his own party after the state's largest newspaper published reports this week in of an alleged unwanted advances in november by a mr.wu for the young, california woman, the daughter of a longtime supporter.
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one last jury in politics from the washington times politics section, dnc targeting hispanic votes with 8 spanishad. both parties are adding spanish- language tv ads. as president obama and democrats try to hold on to the large majority of the hispanic vote, they enjoyed in 2008. you can see states been targeted including florida, california, nevada, colorado, arizona, and a couple of others. coming up this morning, we will be talking about wasteful spending at the pentagon. also looking at gay marriage. first, we will continue our conversation looking at the national debt and the debt limit when we come back. we will be right back.
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>> if you want to be informed about what is happening in the world, particularly in congress and american politics, it is not so hard. c-span has a digital online archive that goes back to 1987. you can basically watch anything that happens in the house or senate chambers right there on your screen. there are sources of information that are unimaginable 20 years ago. >> the c-span video library makes it easy to watch -- follow. all searchable, share ball, and free. the c-span video library, washington your way. >> the supreme court is available as a standard and enhanced ebook.
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""washington journal" continues. host: the former u.s. comptroller general and now founder and ceo of the comeback american initiative, david walker print a good morning. forve said it is a bad idea the congress and president to flirt, so to speak, with the august 2nd deadline of hitting a possible debt default. what do you think is going on right now and are concerned there is not a deal in place yet? guest: i am concerned. if everybody is true to their word, and congressional leaders of both parties and the president, they will reach a deal at the last minute. they have all made a commitment to the american people that they will raise the debt ceiling and not the fall. what we're seeing now is they're coming down to the 11th hour, which i think is inappropriate, but typical for washington.
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the democrats are trying to get as good of the deal as they can and so are the republicans. if they do not reach a deal, they should be held accountable. it is irresponsible not to raise the debt ceiling limit. at the same time, we need to start putting our finances in order. host: has seven in the economic fallout, do have concerns a deal has not been reached -- has there been an economic fallout, anti you have concerns the deal is not been reached? guest: callers have already started to adjust their behavior. if enough people start to do that, it could have an economic and pack. i think the markets have not reacted to an extensive because they believe the elected officials will deliver on their commitment, that there will be a deal. here is the key. it is not just a matter of raising the debt ceiling limit. it is whether or not they do something meaningful to demonstrate to the credit rating agencies, to the farm lenders,
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and the american people that they will start taking steps to put our finances in order because they are out of control right now. host: i'm going to read from an abc news piece online. some people can leaders are doubtful armageddon-like consequences will come to pass. they say they're not afraid of the deadline. republican allen west put it, or in the words of jim jordan, ohio, it is not like the world in august 2nd. what is your interpretation of this message? other house republicans have echoed the opinion there is nothing to be concerned about. what is your message to them? guest: the truth is, nobody knows for sure what will happen if the largest economy on earth, the world's temporary superpower, 60% of the currency, has a technical default and has to decide which bills it will
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pay in which it will not pay. filipinos. the fact is, those statements are totally irresponsible. when the world would you want to pay with a tactical nuclear weapon? that is what we're dealing with. we do not know what will happen if it goes off. at least we are experimenting with real nuclear weapons but we have not experimented with this. those statements are irresponsible. host: david walker is our guest. here are the phone numbers to call to join the conversation -- host: if you manage to get through on the funds, turn down your tv. -- if you manage to get through, turn down your tv. david walker, what is the scenario you like to see happen next couple of weeks?
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you have laid out some possible ideas, some solutions to this situation. what would you ideally like to see happen? guest: i think we have to be realistic with regard to what can happen before the 2012 election. both parties have a different view about how to put our nation's finances in order. right or wrong, significant number of republicans have taken the pledge dealing with taxes. interestingly, we can achieve comprehensive tax reform that will end up generating more revenues as part of running the base, lowering rates that will generate more revenues and not violate that pledge. but we cannot do that before the 2012 election. we're going to have to reach an agreement to increase the debt ceiling limit, hopefully, enough to get is passed the 2012 election. in exchange for specific cuts
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that will equal or exceed that. we cannot please get $1 trillion at of defense over the next 10 years, at least $1 trillion out of health care and other expenses including interest expense, and lots of ideas are laid out in restoring fiscal sanity report. ultimately, we will mean more revenue. those revenues will have to come as part of comprehensive tax reform. realistically, that will not happen until after the 2012 elections. host: in coming from twitter. guest: we do talk about drawn down forces in southwest asia to 45,000 of the end of 2014 under a pre-emptive scenario. if a of a debt crisis, we will have to draw down a lot faster. we could save a lot of money from reducing our presence in
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southwest asia. but the pentagon has become a bloated bureaucracy. it has a tremendous amount of overhead. there are a number of other ideas that would allow us to be of a cut tremendous sums from defense without compromising national security. >host: republican line, north carolina. caller: i would love for everyone to go out there today and bought the book by ann rand in 1957, depicting a exactly what is happening today. if you keep penalizing the producers, the ones supplying the jobs, penalizing the producers, there is not going to be any more money to do anything with. people are not going to be able to survive to get food to anything. people that are not producing
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keep having a hand out. if you keep giving it to those in penalizing the producers, then the producers are going to end up with their hand out. they're going to be stricken with their hands tied. guest: the me come back if i can. i'm familiar with the book. it has been read by millions of people. it is a very interesting book. i guess the issue, let's touch on the tax aspect read it right now, 51% of americans do not pay any income taxes. they pay payroll taxes. the problem is, this peril taxes are not adequate to fund medicare, social security. you cannot have in a democracy and majority of americans growing not contrary to the constitutional rules of the federal government. the median tax rate is 18.8%
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grid that is how warren buffett secretary and the pain more tax rate than him rich his income comes primarily through capital gains, which is taxed at 15%. in this report, we talk about how to engage in comprehensive tax reform that will improve economic growth, and hence our posture, whichever one is contending a fair share to generate more revenue. that is very important read by the way, it would not violate the tax pledge, although, i believe such pledges are totally inappropriate and should be rescinded and rejected. host: we're talking with david walker. without reforms by 2012, will only cover social security, medicare, medicaid and interest on the debt. 2046, revenue will not even
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cover interest costs. we can see last year and 2022 and 2046. you can see the time line or the revenue is an honor the things that have to be spent for and money is allocated to. let's go to a comment on twitter. if we had a downgrade, would it be that bad? we would only be downgraded to aa rating that is still a pretty good bond rating, in my book. what do you think, mr. walker? guest: we would have to pay higher interest rate, but how much higher would they be? you just saw that graf that showed under our present pact based on historical levels of revenue about 18.2% of the economy, the only thing we could pay for in 2046 based on the current pact is interest. that is without a significant increase in interest rates. by now we have historically low interest rates, but that could change dramatically if our credit rating changes. for everyone% increase, 100
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basis points, about $150 billion a year in interest. what you get for that? as we say in the south, shinola. nothing. host: we go to the democrat line. caller: first of all, i am truly upset. if i do not talk intelligently, please, excuse me. greed, greed, greed. the rich and powerful are getting rich and powerful. the rich and powerful are hellbent on destroying this country because of the fear of losing their money. we should raise their taxes on their rich. i am paying taxes big time on my life. the thing is, i am so upset with the ignorance, with the calls that come in. it is devastating to say the rich are helping the poor to get
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jobs is absolutely ludicrous. i am so upset because there is a goal to tear down the little guy. of course the goal is to destroy obama, which is unspeakable. the middle class and the poor are suffering. all because of money. money, money. that is what is so upsetting to me. guest: there is absolutely no question there is a growing gap between the haves and have-nots in the world and the u.s. as well. it is not just an issue of wealth. it is also an issue of education. important, the comprehensive tax reform that is outlined in the comeback america restoring fiscal sanity report under both from march would end up resulting with everybody and that making more than a stated percentage will pay something. those who end up having more and
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make more will pay more. we will have an even more progressive tax system. but the way we do it is through comprehensive tax reform that will end up making sure we equate taxes on labor, with taxes on capital. we will have a more economic system that is more vibrant and will stimulate economic growth and generate more revenues at historic levels. host: maryland, independent line. caller: social security is overrated. if you want to be poor, make your plans to live on social security. i have social security, 7.6% of my income a whole life. the other is a vanguard account.
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we pay 10,000 a year on vanguard. we have it for eight years. with all of the recessions, we got $1 million. we have been using that for 10 years. we did it ourselves with the difficulty. on the other hand, we put in about $300,000 to the federal government -- a pension plan is when you put your money into overtime, it grows. when you allow the government to take over your retirement, you get what you deserve. that is a threat with the president of the united states saying, we may not be able to give you your money. we have been hoodwinked.
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guest: a couple of key points. social security is not a pension system. it is a show shall insurance system where there are survivors benefits. it was never intended to be the sole form of retirement income. it was intended to be a foundation. like with a house, you have to add to the foundation to have a habitable drill -- dwelling. over 56% americans rely primarily on social security. it is paying out more than it is being paid into. it can be made solvent come sustainable, indefinite leave. we did that by laying out of
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this report in fiscal insanity. -- fiscal sanity. the younger you are, the better off you are financially. we need to get our savings rate up. pension plans, other vehicles. we need to move through some type of universal savings arrangement, because the system we have now is not working. host: the founder and ceo of the combat americas initiative. -- come back america initiative. new york, republican line, joining the conversation. caller: thanks for taking my
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call and thinks mr. walker for his years of service that has had an impact on some aspects of american life. the question i want to pose to him is that, one of the reasons i believe congress, senate, and the presidents are having a problem developing a consensus on this issue is that they cannot send the debt ceiling without addressing structurally to some aspects of the deficit in terms of how we are going to pay for it. i believe the rating agencies have sat with both the senate and house of representatives lives -- they can extend the debt ceiling without addressing the deficit in a meaningful way that they could still risk having the country's credit rating fallaway. is that true? guest: that is true. there are two issues.
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raising the debt limit. they have to recognize the u.s. garment spent $4 billion a day more than it has taken in. what is going to be done in conjunction with raising the debt limit. we have to demonstrate that we now know we are living beyond our means. we will take steps to put our finances in order. we cannot spend billions of dollars a day more than we take in without having a day of reckoning. we need to do something meaningful. we have to recognize what we are doing now versus what we are doing later like social insurance reforms. we have to recognize that some things will not be able to be done until after the election.
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comprehensive health care reform -- we have to engage american people with the tough choices. they deserve to know and to hear what the proper path forward is. host: would it be less contentious if we had not entered an election year? is the political element heightening this here? guest: no question. close margins in the house and senate. they want to keep the house. president obama wants to get to be elected. republicans want a republican elected. there are pressures on the right into the left.
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never say never. it is fine to make a commitment to one's constituents, but to take a pledge to special interest groups on the right or the left is inappropriate. there is a reason why we have this stalemate. we are headed off a cliff if we do not change course. host: next caller. caller: i am very angry with boehner. republicans are stalling the economy under this president so they can make sure they have the voters so frustrated so that they be elected the same bunch that put us out in this heavy deficit situation right now.
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they are using the port to play political games with that this president and cutting back is to lay off people to cause unemployment to go up, cutting important programs and social organizations that we need to make unemployment go up. they are using the american public naiveness. barack obama came to the meeting table several times. when he tries to give them what they want, they say no.
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host: she brought up raising taxes on the wealthiest americans. guest: i understand that you are upset. many americans have gone from concern to discussed. the american people are smarter than people give them credit for. if it looks like one party is disproportionately responsible, and we do have a u.s. debt crisis, they will be held accountable at the polls. it is important that we work together to reach a reasonable compromise, because all of us will be affected one way or the other. our fiscal situation is so challenging that he will not solve the problems by taxing the rich. if you look at our total liabilities, retiree health care, contingencies, medicare, social security, all of these things -- as of september 2010, we were in a $61 trillion whole.
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that is over $500,000 per household. you could eliminate all of the bush obama tax cuts, you could end up eliminating all congressional earmarks and eliminate all foreign aid, which people think is a big number, but it is not. that is about 20% of the problem. the government has grown too big, promised to much, which did too long to restructure. we will have more revenues, but we need to go about it in an intelligent way to make our system simpler, fairer, more competitive and will promote job growth and innovation. under the comeback american initiative, there is an additional money for helping the
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economic recovery and deal with unemployment. the less spending reductions of the next few years is over $3 trillion. if we do not put our finances in order, we will have a lot bigger problems in the future. >> congress should be fired if they cannot reach a deficit deal according to senator warner. you started off this segment same congress needs to take action. there is a problem with their effectiveness. a but point to you think congress will be fired? guest: the american people
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decide whether or not to read- hire another member of congress. we have another election coming up in november 2012. no deal, no pay. they are one of the first ones to get cut off, because they are not doing their job. and no retroactive pay either. we have to open the recognize that both political parties are responsible for where we are. spending has been out of control, especially since 2002. we have made more promises than we can afford. very few tax cuts pay for themselves. we need election reform. we need denigrated and --
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integrated reform and term limits. we do not need career politicians that are more concerned about getting reelected and doing their job. >> you may run for office in the state of connecticut. are you looking at that possibility? among those pushing you to run is the national republican senatorial committee. why would you run? guest: i was an independent -- i am an independent and was a republican prior to that. i do not like politics or career politicians. my view is our country is at a critical crossroads. the decisions that need to be made will determine our country's future and whether the
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future for my grandchildren and others will be better in the past. i have ticket -- decide if i will dedicate the rest of my life to this type of public service. i am thinking about it, but i am not going to rush into any decisions. host: your political alignment has changed over the years. you have taken a break from one political party. how would that affect your run and where would you sit? guest: i was born and raised in alabama and florida. if you were a democrat, you were disenfranchised, because of the elections were decided in the primaries. i went from being a conservative democrat to a moderate republican. i was ahead of the wave.
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in a job, you had to be independent. i decided to become an independent. i remained one when i left that job, because it has put me in good stead. i have been able to deal with republicans and democrats. many americans are independent. you do not have to run with one of the parties or you could run as an independent and with one of the parties. i would have to decide that down the road. host: david walker is president and ceo of the comeback america initiative. he served as the comptroller general of the united states and head of the u.s. government accountability office for almost 10 years. let us go to massachusetts on
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our independent line. caller: thank you, mr. walker. you have talked so much common sense this morning. i do feel from what i have been listening to that republicans have been for tax reform. i am very frightened with what i hear. all i hear is about of class warfare around a blame game. i think both parties are totally responsible for where the country is today. i do not think singing who did what will solve anything. we need a wake-up call in this country. american people better wake up. we are in serious trouble. host: what do you think it is going to take? caller: we need to cut our
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spending. the american people will have a hard lesson to learn. we are spending too much money. guest: i agree with you 110%. both political parties are responsible for where we are. we can blame a lot of people, but it is sought. to be productive. we need to recognize reality. the government has promised to much, grown into big, which it long to respond, spent more than it has. we need to make sure that we discharge our constitutional responsibilities, have a sound in some credible safety net for those that truly need it, while doing things to grow our economy, make sure people pare their fair share with regard to taxes. that is what restoring fiscal sanity and this free market does.
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republicans are for comprehensive tax reform, and so are democrats. we will do a comprehensive tax reform, but not get it until after the 2012 elections. we can do it in a way that would make our situation better. we have a spending revenue problem. we need to start soon to make these tough choices so the american economy can work for us and not against us. > host: a question on twitter. instead of paying 6%, we may play 22%. -- pay 22% if we fail. could that change the bond rating? guest: it is not going to take that dramatic a decline on the first step. we are not saying 6% now.
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that is what the scary situation is. we have historically low interest rates. people are not buying our bonds. we can sell short-term debt, because it is still a safe investment relatively. investment rates go up and we will feel it very quickly. we have a lot in these low rates over a long term. that is the risk. our risk could be downgraded if we raise the debt ceiling limit and does something credible to demonstrated that we will start putting our finances in order,
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dealing with out-of-control spending and other expenditures. host: john, republican caller. >> i see your point of a few my question -- i see your point of view. what can be done to rebuild the small business of america under 500 employees. i think that is the key to revenue. i do not worry about big corporations. congress has been irresponsible. they have permitted wall street to be the same, during the last 10 years or maybe prior to that as well.
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how important do you think it is if you believe it is? thanks. guest: small business is the engine of innovation, growth, and job creation in the united states. one of the things we have to recognize is we need to provide for certainty with regard to our tax laws, regulatory structure, and we do not have either one right now. the u.s. government needs to do a lot more to help small business with regard to exports. major corporations do not have a problem. they do not need help. small businesses do. we can learn from japan actively partners with business to promote japanese products and
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exports, even in a free-trade world. there is a lot more we should be doing to stimulate that part of the economy. host: bipartisan trio says tax or 0 -- they are offering a tryst on the chronic funding problem. bill bradley, and our guest, david walker, says levin taxes on oil would drive down oil contentions. set the scenario for us. guest: this is an example of how the federal government has gotten totally out of control. i partnered with former senator bill bradley, a respected republican that is a former governor, to talk about non-
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partisan solutions that can get bipartisan support. the structure is deteriorating dramatically. i live in connecticut. i can literally run faster than that train goes between new york city in the stamford conn.. most of our investments is not based on economic situations. the so-called trust fund that was supposed to fund our surface transportation is dry. we now are generally -- if you look at other countries, every other country into having a self sustaining critical infrastructure system. the plan for making investments is based on natural
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considerations plaint -- planned well in advance. so you can plan intelligently that will stimulate growth and stimulate jobs. we need to learn from others. this is a comprehensive plan to put us on a more sustainable path. it is an example of what needs to be done, because the u.s. government is largely based on the 1950's. the world has changed a lot since then. host: democratic caller, boynton beach, florida. caller: we seem to be spending quite a bit of mining on students' education, but they are not prepared, and they do not have a good life skills. they claim they do not have enough skilled workers. they encouraging
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education by providing grants, assistance, and money. we also hear there are some states where people are paying for the busing of their children. this is supposed to be part of the education process. people are being put upon so severely to pay for things that citizens are paying for through their taxes. they are claiming they do not have enough skilled workers, and they keep bringing people into this country from other countries to do jobs that our own citizens should be able to do. about this. talk there are two systems in the united states where we spend double per person as compared to
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the average for industrialized nations, and we get an average results. we spent double per person and we get below average results. k through 12th education and health care. the system is broken. you cannot throw more money at a system where you are spending double and not kidding result and expect things to change. we cannot compete on wages. we have to compete on a scale, -- skill, innovation, and those types of things. the world is moving to an economy based on brains. we need to have several paths. some of our students, no matter what their gender or race or ethnicity will not go on to college. others will be trained in
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trades. we need to do a better job in financial literacy. other sectors should be doing more. we should have more charitable contributions the truth is, the not-for-profit sector is going to be more important as remove afford and as the government restructures. host: here is a list of the fiscal fitness index. the united states is 28 on the line. what can the u.s. one from these other countries? guest: we can learn a lot.
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we are not as great as we think we are. we have lost our way. we have a tendency to think that we cannot learn and not from others. that is flat wrong. australian, is zealand, sweden, have risen to these challenges. we need to learn from others and from history. a travel over 90 countries around the world it has been part of my makeup to look to others to learn the positives and avoid the negatives. host: san diego, independent
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caller. caller: thank you for your service. you are very smart. i would love in your thoughts on various industries. did they give aig a triple a rating and then the next day went bankrupt. i would love your opinion on those people. guest: the credit rating agencies perform a very important function. they do a better job with regard to the private-sector than the public sector. there have been notable exceptions. there were a variety of instruments that were directly contributed to the sub-prime crisis that happened back in 2008. here is what is important.
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a disconnect between who is benefiting and who is going to pay the price as the bubble burst, not enough transparency in, too much debt, not enough focus on cash flow. failure to act until a crisis is at their doorstep. there are a lot of similarities. credit agencies are starting to step up to the plate. there are starting to recognize interest rates to a greater extent. they are starting to do a better job. you have to understand what they do. they do not consider off-balance sheet obligations. if you are a foreign investor, they do not consider currency risk at all. understand what they're basically saying. i do not think we will default.
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we are on an unsustainable path to threaten the future of this country and the role of americans. we need to focus on it. host: david walker, founder and ceo of the comeback america initiative. guest: good to be with you. host: we will speak with the national journal reporter about ways at the pentagon, but first we will discuss a marriage. now an update from c-span radio. >> chuck schumer in remarks earlier said he expects majority leader harry reid to release details on his deficit plan later today and the debt proposal has the best chance at ending the political stalemate and avoiding a government
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default. wall street is reacting to negotiations on capitol hill. stocks are falling this morning ahead of the open bell. as talks continue, nancy pelosi is taking a break from negotiations to issue a request for an ethics panel investigation on congressman david will. -- wu. a woman said she had an unwanted intimate attack with the man last year. and one person says the united states is not rushing to leave the country can cautions what will happen in the months ahead will have a far reaching effect across the globe. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> you are watching c-span, bringing you politics and public affairs. every morning is "washington
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journal". weekdays watch live coverage of white house and the supreme court oral arguments. you can see our signature interview program. on sundays, newsmakers, q&a, and prime minister's questions from the british house of commons. you can watch the program org.ime on c-span dot wor c-span, washington your way. a public service created by cable service programs. he led an original c-span interviews with current and retired justices. this book includes an interview with elena kagan.
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you can watch multimedia clips from all of the justices. this is available now where sold.books are host: images all over the papers today of same-sex marriage. yesterday was the first day it could happen in york. guest: it is very significant for new york and same-sex couples, and the country. same-sex couples can marry in the district of columbia as well. it is incredibly significant. the images we see of loving couples waiting in line to join
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an institution really sends a signal, not just to people in york coming into the gay and lesbian community, but people all around this country that equality is what the country is built on. host: what do you think of about this in other states such as maryland. is what is happening in the york influential? guest: what happens in new york last month -- yesterday was the first day marriage licenses could be issued to same-sex couples. it sends a signal to other states that are contemplating moving on same-sex marriage in maryland on friday, new york was
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moving toward issuing same-sex marriage licenses. gov. martin o'malley made a bold statement saying he is redoubling his efforts and is calling on the community and the state legislature to move to pass same-sex marriage a legislation. other states are commenting proactive measures and ballot initiatives like minnesota. host: comments from the new york, the post standard. it says in new york, same-sex couples will be married and will have benefits under state law including health insurance.
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as they cross across the border to pennsylvania, their marriage is not valid. how significant and far-reaching is it if other states want to fully recognize this? guest: it overwhelmingly says that while couples may be able to get married, but they could be denied. survivor benefits, health insurance, pensions, lots of things that couples enjoy that same-sex couples are denied. in choosing certain marriages over others to promote and a disregard is under equal about the denial of benefits.
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it is what the repeal of defense of marriage act is all about. as we see more and more states taxing same-sex marriage legislation, insuring that there should be equal benefits for same-sex couples, these are the qualities we see. only 5 percent side of couples lived in states where there was some kind of recognition with new york same-sex legislation -- now 46% that have some sort of benefits. when people say this is a quality moving, it is exactly right. host: she has served 11 years as
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a political director and the first vice-president of the human rights campaign foundation. a a big picture at the top of the new york times today. mayor bloomberg officiating at the wedding of two of his staff members with their families there. how significant is this to see a photograph of two men getting married by the mayor of new york city on the front page of the new york times? on one hand it is an incredible marker of how far we have come. gracie mansion is the ceremonial home -- it sends an incredible signal to new york but around the world. when you look at the polls, many support same-sex marriage today
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when the defense of marriage act was passed into law. it may never have been contemplated many years ago, but it seems like it should happen. there were arguments about whether marriage equality was the right thing to do. what is significant about the new york is it is the first state where -- people look at the polling. they look at it by a margin of 60%. the majority of americans support marriage a quality. it shows how a process is being
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made and it may not have been this way if some people had not fought it. host: john joins us on the phone. caller: wanted to know if the center of american progress was so involved in a right -- gay rights for marriage. most of my republican fans believe that being gay is a choice. i know that they bought been candid it says that. some say it is not a choice. i know there is no way that is a choice. is there any study i could use
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to back of my claims what i argue with the republican friends of mine saying this is not a choice, they would not put themselves through that? i see what congress meant bachman is trying to do with that group. where is the information to back that up? host: as a republican, do you believe in gay marriage? caller: absolutely. they should have every right that we have. if they are in a loving relationship, they have every right that we do, insurance issues, except rep.
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marriage is a state thing, not a religious thing. from a religious point of view, i can see people with moral obligations. as far as the constitution, marriage, it should not matter. guest: indiana has a couple of really great points. not just in new york or maryland or across the country, independent and republicans arm -- are moving more to support gay marriage. they are choosing which marriages to recognize and which ones not. you pay into the social security system on your life and you happen to marry your gay partner, you should be able to
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get those benefits. several of the witnesses talked about the real financial implications of the denial of benefits that they have on their families. they feared losing their homes, because they were denied their benefits. this kind of inequity is wrong. michele bachmann talked about whether fiscal engagement is a choice or not. organizations look at mental health issues, the psychological association, psychiatric association, sexual orientation is not a choice. it is something you are born with.
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the center for american progress is a progressive think tank here in washington that works on a range of issues, economy, health care, and so we do a lot of work on research studies having to do with gay, lesbian, transgendered communities. host: any suggestions as to where the caller can go to find out more? guest: the american medical association, the scientists are charged with being at work and can be found on the website. host: gay marriage, a state's rights issue. one person signed with the approval of a gay marriage.
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perry has been weighing a presidential run says he opposes gay marriage but is a firm believer of the 10th amendment. your reaction to that? guest: it a state chooses to pass same-sex marriage, and they should go ahead and do it. i take issue with governor. that that is fine for the york or the district of columbia to have marriage equality for same- sex couples. the problem is federal benefits are denied to those couples. they do not have access to the benefits that come with marriage. you are denied federal benefits. the federal government picking into choosing how they receive these benefits is wrong. host: independent scholar, trenton, new jersey.
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caller: i am in a bi-national l g b t relationship. i have the opportunity to get married, it means nothing in the federal government, because they do not recognize my relationship with my partner. so i cannot have of my partner as my spouse like any other straight couple. it is very frustrating with seeing all of this progress, and yet, for me, it would be horrible for us to get married, unless we did something illegal, which we do not want to do. we cannot be together. that is the bottom line. what is being addressed right now? there is some legislation on trying to get rid of doma.
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guest: it is a great question. it is one of the benefits that comes with marriage and that you can be treated like other heterosexual couples that get married and your spouse is treated as a citizen. it is one of the problems that comes with the denial of federal benefits. others will address this issue. i do not think the legislation will pass anytime soon. one of the challenges is the families are torn apart. they want the same rights and benefits and responsibilities as other couples, and they are denied because of their sexual
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orientation. host: boehner says he wants to defend the defense of marriage act. guest: the control of the house of representatives in republican hands poses a huge problem. there is a respect for marriage act -- there are other ways and avenues the country into the nation, addressing the question of same-sex marriage, there is a court case out of california involved with proposition 8 that hits two former antagonistic now as protagonists and have now
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joined in a marriage equality case out of california. there are other cases that are challenging to the defense of marriage act as well. host: what do you see the significance of between what a legislature does, and governor does, and what the voters say? how significant is it in a state does not want to see same-sex marriages in a popular vote? guest: what you have seen over time, the republican and democrat independent legislators that voted for same-sex marriages in 2008, prop. 8 was passed with a huge disappointment for marriage a quality. times have changed in the three
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years or so. generally in this country, the rates of minority are not put up for a popular vote and those rights are mostly left to the courts. we see in california that the courts will remedy the situation. host: gainesville, florida. caller: there have been great ma.rings right now on dolm the republicans are now saying something that is a gimmick to keep people aware of it and give the idea that they're all for rights of the people, because there is a loophole. it kind of made my point right now that 60% of americans are
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for recognizing marriage for whoever it is. i do not think it should be left up to the public and brings up the issue with civil rights. it should be evident in proposition 8. as we look back in history in slavery, the rights of people would not have ended in this country if -- they need to be represented as equals in this country. it is kind of a foolish to say we are finally getting the majority of people and it needs to be dealt with as an equal rights issue.
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guest: i think the courts will ultimately decide in california in the prop. 8 case. there are multiple strategies used in this fight. we got to work on the court of public opinion, the legislature, i think the caller's point about the situation is useful. if you look back in 1967, when the decision was handed down into struck down the loss that prevented the black and white people from getting married, 70% of the american people, were opposed to the supreme court's decision. they still thought african- americans and whites should not marry.
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these are issues that should not be put up to it -- that should be put up to the people to decide. host: take a listen to public policy president, talking about the implications of the defense of marriage act. take a listen. >> the section two is that section of doma that excuses state from being required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. these are the states that have overwhelmingly determined what marriage is. overwhelmingly, they had voted for that.
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same-sex marriages performed elsewhere will have to be recognized in those states that have determined that marriage is what it has always been. force political correctness, which can get downright nasty. host: what do you think about this concern over a backlash for people that do not believe that marriage should be opened up to same-sex couples. guest: when you take a look at the states that have merit on the books for same-sex couples, mass. for example -- they had it on the books for seven years. where is the backlash, this
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notion that there has to be political correctness? we have not seen it, the anticipated from the proponents of same-sex marriage, the notion that a heterosexual marriage will suddenly fall apart. none of those horror stories happened when you take a look at vermont, or connecticut or the district of columbia. i want to remind people to look at the facts when they are in gear that this will be for political correctness or that somehow traditional marriages will be undermined. it just does not happen. host: a piece called the chilling of our first amendment rights where people who are against gay marriage are getting some pullback facing
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discriminatory actions toward them. how did you make sure there is a dialogue that has a tone -- are you concerned about the tone of the dialogue? one might argue that the tables are turned and many supporters of gay rights are ridicule and have not faced discrimination themselves? guest: the issue of marriage equality for same-sex couples is not an easy one for everyone. it is about a journey into the american public grappling with a new issue for a lot of people. that is ok. i disagree with maggie gallagher over the other witnesses from last week from those that oppose same-sex marriage equality. they are entitled to their
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opinions and their journey on this issue, as we have seen with many people. look at the president, evolving in this issue. at the end of the day, the american people are fair, equal, and do not want to see themselves discriminated against. we will get to the right place. i am not fearful of this debate, because i have great faith in the country. host: the president has talked about his position on gay- rights game marriage devolving. one person said my opinion has not evolved. i am not there yet. does that imply that there is more of an acceptance on this
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position? guest: evolution is about moving forward. this country is about moving forward. i am confident that we are getting in the right place. when looking at the polling and the different constituents, far more young people support same- sex marriage ban used to. people's views are evolving as more people are coming out and they are being out as couples raising children. but marriage provides a lot of security the gay and lesbian couples. as neighbors understand that friends around the block happen to be gay, have kids, and are sending to children -- sending a message to their children, they
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want the same kind of coverage. host: moore, oklahoma. how are you doing this morning? caller: good, thank you. to me, this is about survivor rights. social security, and the survivor rights of unemployment. i think this is a money issue more than anything else. the gay and lesbian community has the right to enter into other legal contract, cd's, cars, housing, and they can even adopt children. i do not feel like i have to pay for them to enjoy the rights that i have as a married couple. guest: social security is certainly in the news these days in the debate about capitol hill strengthening it to shore up
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entitlements goes to the caller's concerns ensuring that social security and other benefits will be there for all us when we retire and need them for our children. it is the same for a gay and lesbian couple. it is just not right for them to pay and to the social security system for their entire lives and then not be able to receive the survivor benefits that they deserve. again, last week's hearing had a couple of stories and witnesses of people who had paid into the system their entire lives and were denied at the death of their spouse. thousands and thousands of dollars, and in this economy, we all know those dollars are desperately needed for families around this country. denying them to a gay and lesbian couple simply because of who they are is wrong and will change. host: detroit on the independent
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line. welcome. caller: i think this comedowns to semantics. what is marriage? where did it originate? it is a religious institution. calling it "marriage," i heard a gate and lesbian -- a gay and lesbian say you could "marry" sauces but not oil and water. the natural state is heterosexual and it promotes the propagation of society's and families. when the unnatural communities want to call it "marriage," people are fed and then when they know the origination of the marriage is in god's institutions of a one-man, one woman, becoming one to promote society and grow a population.
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host: what do you think of civil unions instead of using the word "marriage/" caller: i think the whole gay and lesbian, they call it progress. what are we progressing too? you want to call it "marriage" and perverted, take it away from where its original purpose and want to call gays and lesbians marry? it makes no sense. guest: marriages an institution that is one of the bedrocks, not just of american society, but of a civilization. is an institution that the gay and lesbian community wants to join. over 100 degrees sweltering heat in new york, gay and lesbian
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couples from all over the state wanting to join this institution to take care of their families. that is what marriage is about. the caller raises the point that marriage is at least two things. there is a contract, the rights, benefits, and responsibilities, that go to a couple when they are married. it can also be, although there does to become a religious element to marriage. but you look at the language signed by gov. cuomo or the other legislation is pending, there is nothing in the legislation or ballot measures that says a religious institution or a person of faith has to perform a marriage for a same-sex couple. that is just not true. the rights, benefits come and responsibilities that flow through marriage and then there
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is the religious part. no one is saying that anyone in a church, and moscow, or in a tumble last perform -- a mosque or a temple. host: winnie stachelberg is with the center for american progress. something else that is being talked about now is for gay men and women to serve openly in the military. we saw some news on friday. talk this through what is happening. guest: the president, the new secretary of defense leon panetta, and the joint chiefs of staff certified the military to say that the repeal of don't ask, don't tell, in other words having openly gay people serving will not hurt recruitment and will make the best military in
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the world stronger. we will continue to fight for our defense. what that certification was predicated on was legislation that was passed by congress last december in 2010 overwhelmingly, republicans and democrats coming together under the leadership of senator lieberman, congressmen patrick murphy, speaker pelosi, steny hoyer, and others. being gay and serving in the military does not hurt recruitment or retention. it repeals a law that was signed 17 years ago. last friday was the certification and the results of the military extensive training of all of the military of what open service means for the military themselves. certification happens now and there is a 60-day waiting period.
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on september 20th, 2011, the repeal will be final and service members will be able to serve openly. host: let's look at marine general hummer. >> statements about sexual orientation will no longer be a bar to military service. we will no longer separate service members under don't ask, don't tell. former service members formally discharged may reapply for reentry. with regards to the recessions of openly gay or lesbian service members will be evaluated to the same standards as all other applicants. host: marine general hummer. our guest, winnie stachelberg, is with the center for american progress where she oversees the
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lesbian, gay, and trans-gender project. arlington, virginia, democratic caller. good morning. caller: thank you. thank you, ms. stachelberg. i am a gay military officer. my partner is also in the military. to what extent do you think of the repeal of don't ask, don't tell was to repeal doma? we cannot be stationed together and so forth, but when i was going through the training i asked this question of the jag officer. we are forced, as military people come to make the choice between perjury and fraud. if i fill out a form asking for marital status and i married in
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a state where it was legal, i could collect federal entitlements, which would be fraud, so i have to write "single" and i am legally married. it does not seem like a good choice to have to make a choice between fraud and perjury. guest: the caller's question goes to the heart of the debate of round don't ask, don't tell when admiral mullen said at a hearing that it undermined the integrity of the united states military because it forced are brave men and women to lie. that is not what our military is about and so that will change. the repeal, when it finally happens in the repeal has significantly improved and it
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changed the discussion for same- sex couples. you can see how in polling increase for support for same- sex couples has grown around the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. it showed the gay and lesbian community as it is, brave men and women in the military, neighbors, parents, family members. and that is why i'm not nervous about the discussion and going up against proponents of same- sex marriage. the debate around don't ask, don't tell and its final appeal will be good for the debate around same-sex marriage quality. your question about filling out these forms is exactly right. i caution you not to fill them out as honest as you should until september 20th, 2011, but the problem is if you were stationed in massachusetts and
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you were married, n.y., or any other locality that has marriage quality, you would still be denied those benefits because of the defense of marriage act. that is why the defense of america act will fall. but the denial of benefits for our brave men and women who are fighting, the denial of benefits who rely on survivor benefits, health insurance, pension funds is wrong and that is what the defense of marriage act does. it denies them to american citizens. this country should not be about picking which marriages should be recognized and which ones should not. host: david in columbus, ohio. welcome. caller: i think i can shed some light on some of the confusion concerning the opponents of gay activism and their lifestyle.
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i think most people, including myself, would have no problems with several unions and things like that. where it comes down to is i think we can accept it, but you are asking us to approve of it. there is a difference. i think itarriage," was the caller from michigan that said we are scared to death that churches will be sued because they will not perform marriages today parties because that is against their beliefs. -- marriages for gay parties because it is against thetir beliefs. host: from twitter -- guest: civil unions denied the federal benefits.
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the symbol of unions that were in vermont before it passed in connecticut, you were denied federal benefits. the defense of marriage act denies them for everyone, so even if you have a state- sanctioned marriage, this federal benefits are denied. a civil union is not the same as a marriage, not only in the board, but the benefits conferred on to the couple. that is the real problem. i just want to address something else the caller raised. it is again why i am optimistic for marriage quality -- eqauuality. the gay and lesbian community and our allies are not seeking support. quite frankly, they're not even seeking approval. what the gay and lesbian community is seeking a lack of opposition. when you take a look at, again,
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the states that have had marriage equality were the gay and lesbian community has received marriage licenses, the caller's concern about lawsuits for churches nonperforming same- sex marriages, it just has not happened. while, again, i want to say this is new for a lot of people and that is okay to raise these issues which makes perfect sense, which is what our country was founded on, debate and democracy. when you look at the state where there is currently same-sex marriage, the anticipated problems do not pan out. churches are not being sued and the institution of marriage is not, at all, undermined. host: last caller. good morning. caller: i have been in in a lesbian relationship for 35 years and i have contributed to my relationship, my family, and
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their needs. i do not mean just my immediate family. my question is what is being done to educate the public in the decency of these relationships and the contribution to this society that gays and lesbians do make every single day of their lives? we have teachers in my community, judges, lawyers, engineers, doctors, people who have had these relationships for years, and years, and have been forced by an irrational majority to keep their lives in secret, to lie to their parents and friends and to pretend that they are something that they're not. what are you doing to educate the public? i think you're doing a wonderful job, but i would like to know what is being done in these
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communities to go out there and show that marriage is meant to be for people who love each other and want to enter into a contractual relationship with each other? host: what would it mean for you to be able to get married? caller: to be able to share my life with other people who are my family and friends. it would be a statement. it is a testimony to what a life committed to each other and all the things that we've worked for. our retirement, social security. we have had to find alternate ways to protect our wealth, the work we have done for years, to enter into contracts, corporations, things that do not mean anything other than what marriage is fundamentally, which is a contract between two people to love each other and to protect each other in this long journey that we call life. guest: i could not have said it
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any better. shows like this on c-span, calls like yours, the strength that you and your partner, your family have, people coming out and telling their stories. that is why i think the debate about a marriage of equality, the debate about repealing don't ask, don't tell, the debate about discrimination act where it is perfectly legal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation with no recourse, this debate is so important to raise the issues to an able the gay, lesbian, and trans-gender community to talk about what is at stake, the inequality, the differences between a civil union and a marriage. this is not about forcing religious institutions in any way. this is the debate we need to have. the hearing last week with the judiciary committee, the debate
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in new york that got ugly at times and had people protesting in albany, all of these things are what brings this country closer to equality for their gay and lesbian citizens. host: winnie stachelberg with the center for american progress, thank you for being with us this morning. coming up next, megan scully, on waste at the pentagon. we will be right back after this news update. >> at 9:19 a.m. and more on the washington budget negotiations from secretary of state hillary clinton speaking earlier to the u.s. chamber of commerce in hong kong. secretary clinton says a resolution to the debt crisis will be reached. the remarks came as asian stocks dropped today due to nervousness about the situation. the secretary went on to say that the partisan debate is a fact of life in american politics. an update on the earthquake damage in japan. the head of the iaea expressed
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optimism about the damaged nuclear power plant. he said workers could bring the radiation reactors under control by early next year, as planned. more on the bombing in norway. polish security officials say the suspect bought small amounts of components for his bomb making over the internet from poland. the deputy head of the internal security agency says this chemicals can be purchased anywhere in europe. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> if you want to be informed about what is happening in the world, and particularly american politics and the congress, it is not so hard. c-span has a digital online archive that goes back to 1987 where you can basically watch anything that happened in the house or senate chambers right there on your screen. there are sources of information
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that are unimaginable. >> the c-span video library makes it easy with instant access to events at the white house, committee rooms, the house and senate chambers. all free. the peabody award-winning c-span video library. washington your way. >> "the supreme court" is now available as a standard and advanced ebook. 11 original interviews with current and retired justices. the new edition includes an interview with the newest supreme court justice, elaine acadian -- elana kagan. court"s "the supreme available now. host: megan scully with "the national journal."
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welcome. you have a piece last week, "the pentagon premium." you're right about the phenomenon of overspending at the pentagon. back in the 1980 proxy, there were toilet seats that cost hundreds of millions -- hundreds of dollars. guest: the answer depends on who you talk to. when you talk to whistle- blowers and watchdogs, those who do $640 a troy linseeds say there is not much of an impetus or commitment to reform. -- who found the $640 toilet seats say there is no impetus. host: we have this image from your piece. this is a widget. they paid $640 dollars and retail it's $12.
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guest: when i spoke with the inspector general's office, one of them spoke saying that those who were at the deposition of putting these parts in the army helicopter did not know what it had cost and the people in hyattsville, alabama, did not know what they were buying when the part went under contract. they did not know what a gear was or that $644 was too much when it sells at your local hardware store for much less. host: you say it despite further reform attempts that the defense department financial house is still a mess. after 9/11 terrorist attacks, the department enjoyed and endless cash flow. they had little incentive to bore down on what they were buying, what they were paying, and whether they really needed that good or service.
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guest: their base budget not including more spending has doubled in the past decade. -- not including war spending. everything from the f-35 to this gear. now the times are changing a bit and they are cost cutting their budget by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade so we have a chance to see whether that provides the incentive to get some of these on necessary wasteful spending under control. host: megan scully is our guest talking about spending at the pentagon. the numbers are on your screen. your report that boeing refunded the government nearly $2 million for these spurs as well as other items, but the report begs the question -- how much money does
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the department wasted? where is the reporting on this? where is the self reporting or the government looking into this issue? what is being done? guest: the inspector general specifically had a report that went to the defense contract audit agency. across the board coming it is hard to quantify how much waste there actually is in the dod budget. they say they've saved $400 billion on the audits that they do, but there ought it -- audits are specifically focused. a watchdog will call in and they look at this or that office. because it is so focused, it is hard to determine how much waste there actually is. host: what about the overall big picture audit? the deadline to complete the audit, but they have moved this
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back every time and have failed to meet the initial goal of 1997 and the current target is 2017. so no audit completed until 20 17. guest: they have had a lot of time to get this under control. it is a huge new bureaucracy and a lot of cultural change has happened. yak but in the place new accounting systems. right now have hundreds of accounting systems. individual services even have hundreds of accounting systems making an audit across the entire department, much less with and one military service, very difficult to do. however, there really has not than a commitment and the dod has mismanaged the ability to get to an audit.
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interestingly when you talk to some investigators on the hill and others who are tracking this closely, the audit is the ultimate goal, but getting there is what really will get their financial house in order. the audit will be something there will be able to do on a continuous basis, press a button, and print it out because they have put all of these systems and procedures in place. host: who are some of the leading voices in congress about this? guest: one senator has been following this since the day of the $640 toilet seats. some fiscal conservatives, like senator coburn, are frustrated with the state of this. the subcommittee is focusing heavily on getting this in order. they are really digging into this.
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host: in mississippi, david on the republican line. caller: this is michigan. host: sorry. glad you called. caller: i took a job working for the government in the marine drafting union when they were on strike. while i worked there, if you lost a $50 pen, you just went down and got another one. no problem. the welders, pipe fitters, all of them, i was a designer and i would check the distance, everyone was taking a nap and hardly working at all. it was like you are on vacation working for the government. you would line up to go to work, the unions would be a rather threatening your family,
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threatening you as you walk through the gate. you turn around and say something to them, and the police would tell you they're going to put you in jail and you ask why. they say that is their collective bargaining right to threaten. guest: a lot of watchdogs cringe when you hear the you can just go down and get another one, and certainly stories like that are very common when you look at a pentagon contract in across-the-board. host: your report they are setting performance targets. how easy or hard is that to do? guest: what the pentagon comptroller is doing is setting shorter term goals. 2017 is it too far away. he is trying to set deadlines.
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some of the services and offices are doing better. the marine corps is closest, as the smallest, so they have fewer hurdles. the other services are lagging behind. other defense offices are, as well. only 20% of defense agencies are audibltable. that's only 6 years from now, and a lot of people think 2017 may have to be pushed back again. host: you say it is different than a wal-mart or target which operates a their inventory in real time. the defenders of the agencies say they are doing the best they can, but why can there not be systems like these companies have? guest: the systems are over
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budget. the systems themselves are over budget and years behind the schedule. you are taking these hundreds of accounting systems, and i am not an accountant, but i would imagine it would be a difficult task, but you try to currencies into one system and then you have the people issue to get over as well. what is happening in a lot of the services is that people want to customize the system to make it revert back to the old way of doing business when it really should be revolutionizing the way they do business. there are all these problems along the way. technical problems, personnel problems making this into a much more difficult issue than it probably should be. the dod right now only looks at their inventory on a quarterly basis whereas places like wal- mart and target, it is instantaneous.
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host: louisville, ky. good morning. caller: i am not knowledgeable at all about computers, but when bill moyer was still on pbs, one episode was he was interviewing a man who claimed his name was chuck spinney and the subject was on the pentagon. he was supposedly an insider. they showed this segment, you will have to find this yourself if it is accessible, but all they show in the video is a gao member has just said something to the congressional member and the congressman said, "are you telling me, sir, that the gao cannot account for $1 trillion?"
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that is all i am going to say. guest: chick spinney is one guy from the 1980's. even with the best efforts of these watchdogs, there is a small band that really crept up in the buildup during the 1980's. despite their best efforts, that is still going on today. host: democratic colleague from central harbor, new hampshire, welcome. caller: i have you up on my computer. my comment is not so much dealing with the parts that are overpriced or long term contracts, but in a military unit when they are trying to justify the budget for next year, it is always based on how much they used last year. when i was in the army guard, i
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was an aviator, and if we followed certain procedures that we could save fuel. he said if he used less fuel this year that they would get even next -- even less next year. my response was that maybe we would need less. the budget that people are given for the next year is based on what they do this year. i see this in patrol units where we are encouraged to fly more because if we do not use the hours allocated that we will get less next year. there is a certain rationale to about, but on the other hand there should be a better way of doing the budget. guest: you make an interesting point. last year, former defense secretary robert gates put forward an efficiency initiative
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to go in and find savings and reinvest them into their own budget. that is the only way that you were going to get people to look for wasteful spending in their budgets, to be able to keep the money in the end. you are right. people do fiercely guard their top line. the top line usually goes up by a certain percentage every year. host: you show how they inflate prices for the goods and services sold to the dod, because they can. talk to us about the reimbursement when companies like boeing, as you report, has reimbursed the army for $1.70 million for these parts and only a fraction of the 13 million investigators -- the $13 million investigators concluded that boeing code. guest: decided not to go after
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the $11 million. boeing is trying to get procedures under control. the onus is on the military because clearly the contractors will not offer up millions of dollars out of the goodness of their hearts. it is up to the military and the pentagon as a whole to go after it. watchdogs are concerned, though, that there is not a lot of appetite within the d.o.t. even with the budget coming down -- within the d.o.d. to go after these. people change jobs and there is a loss of an appetite to do this. host: arizona, democratic caller, welcome. caller: my brother is retired for the army and he works for a defense contractor in alabama. he says that these helicopter targets cost $10,000 a piece and
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they are about the size of a piece of plywood and he does not understand why they just do not use plywood. that is my comment. guest: take the inspector general report and you can just find examples of that in offices around the military which goes back to the question you asked earlier in how much waste is there? it is almost impossible to quantify. host: megan scully is a national and defense reporter for "the national journal." we are looking at which will spending in the pentagon and we are taking calls on that. independent caller from new jersey. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you? take a look at the big money.
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the pentagon's procurement budget is $140 billion and research is another $80 billion, so one-third of the budget. if you look at the top of the procurement list, the stryker went from $40 million to $60 million to $100 million and now they are talking about the second engine. why? it will be done by general electric. there are 2000 planes, and you do the arithmetic, this is for a plan that does not even fly. that will give you some of how the procurement is being done. guest: the joint strike fighter
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is the largest program on the pentagon books. the costs have continued to growth route in light of the program. for a variety of reasons from problems with testing. two-marine corps is on ta yer probation. the problem is that these increases have become more run- of-the-mill than they should be. host: why not just go down to the hard wear store and buy a piece of plywood or whatever? why go with the fancy more expensive piece of equipment? off of twitter -- talk was about the rules and regulations.
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guest: they have to go through a long list of procurement regulations. there are many defense offices which handled us, which is part of the problem, the bureaucracy and regulations. everyone is stovepiped into what their jobs are. you have the people in huntsville just looking at one piece of the procurement puzzle. there are looking at this in the broader spectrum. that goes to the next process and the next. it is typical to figure out what went wrong where along the way because the processes are so bureaucratic. they are trying to get that under control with the systems so you can look across the step- by-step process and understand better where the system may have failed. right now, with these accounting
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systems being so individualized for a job as, it is impossible. host: don on the republican line. where are you calling from? caller: kansas. the previous guy kind of stole a little bit of my thunder. the point is correct, though. the price of these parts really cannot be compared to what you would buy in a hardware store. first of all, what you buy in a hardware store might be an el cheapo thing made in china or who knows where and it has no inspection history, no reliability information attached to that part. i worked for a company down in dallas that procured manufactured parts from wherever they could find them and a lot
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of the surplus yards and stuff like that. it may be a one-of-a-kind park, a very hard to find part, but it has to go through all kinds of inspection. they have to make sure that it will work in whatever devices being put into. guest: there are certainly the inspections that go under way and he mentioned an interesting part that you do not know if it was made in china and there are buy american regulations that say you have to have a certain maden ont of americnaan part that prevents them to go down to lowe's. host: megan scully reports on the defense spending.
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of twitter -- guest: right now there is a plan to cut car hundred dollars billon -- $400 billion. during the debt negotiations, the pentagon budget is very much on the table so that number could increase, double or more, by the end of this week. i would imagine, that would give people at the dod to stop these over cost parts from happening and get the joint strike fighter under control to protect their budgets. the heyday of defense spending is coming to an end. host: mary on the democratic
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line. caller: you touched on one problem specifically that is a problem down here, the bureaucracy that would be a huge cost savings brought ofor leon panetta to tackle. the people in the community, soldiers and sailors, mention they would rather go to iraq and get shot at and deal with the bureaucracy and that makes you wonder. on a second topic that has not yet been mentioned, the contract world, you have to worry about the revolving door. the military people, it is in their best interest to keep a good contract negotiation opportunity open because when they retire and leave the service, that is where they go. there is a revolving door and the boys are looking out for each other. when anti-government, i am looking to go to a contractor. -- when i leave the government. that has not been addressed yet,
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that cozy relationship. guest: the revolving door at the pentagon and at the hill is certainly a concern which goes back to the people problem. it goes back to the pentagon acquisition and financial management woes. that will be more difficult to get under control. putting systems in place may be more feasible for the time being, but it is something bad certainly watchdogs are watching closely. use the program managers going to work for the defense contractors they were working with the when they were in the government. that certainly is a problem. host: leon panetta is the former white house budget chief, so he is bringing that into his new job as defense secretary. how is he doing? guest: pretty well so far. talking to people at the
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pentagon, is still pretty early. he only started three weeks ago. the budget will be a huge thing for him to tackle. a lot of people think his budget expertise was what made him the top prospect for this job. he brings with him probably more knowledge than anyone else in the government. he was house budget committee chairman. it will be interesting to see what kind of pressure he puts on the military services to find savings in their budgets what he will look at within his own budget within the office of the secretary of defense to find savings. host: manchester, new jersey. caller: the lady from maryland addressed a comment that i was going to make which is very simply this. it sounds like the guys on the inside of the department of defense are protecting their friends on the outside in the contract. companies and vice versa.
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it is disgusting. guest: there are regulations in place in terms of what you can do in your next job when you retire from the military. those typically come with time limits. certainly there are those in the military, as with across the government, and pretty much everywhere else who are always looking for their next jobs. host: do you hear concerns like a bat on the inside? guest: not so much, however i was looking at the parts issue, the inventory problem, because this is so indicative of what is going on in the larger basis. this is something that comes up when i talk to investigators. you cannot look at the current program manager and say, "one day he will go look for lockheed
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martin, boeing, raytheon." it is not until after the fact. it is not hard to draw a parallel. there or instances with the boeing tanker about eight years ago where people went from the air force to boeing and ended up going to jail for the problems that arose from that. host: megan scully defense and national security reporter for "national journal." this piece was inspired by a report put out the inspector general looking at excess inventory and contract problems and other reports along those lines. megan scully looking at those and talking to people about what their concerns were within the pentagon. from nevada on the independent line. caller: thank you for this program. it is certainly very
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enlightening and greatly appreciated. to the previous -- two of the previous callers brought up my issue which is simply, i think a lot of this is driven by corporate greed and corruption. in addition, i wonder to what extent, if any, have you noticed economic -- any republicans or democrats involved in these budget negotiations raising this issue? if, indeed, $1 trillion is missing, we could certainly save some money by having our members of congress are raising this issue at this very vital time when budget negotiations are under way. guest: it is something that has come up. senator coburn has put forward a plan that would trim $1 trillion from the pentagon budget over the next decade. other plans are in the $800 billion range.
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the pentagon says they believe they can find savings, they called them deficiencies, going back to former secretary gates' plan looking at excess overhead costs. the pentagon does not think that will get them to the ultimate cost cutting goals. when you talk to watch dogs, they disagree. they say there are significant savings to be found just by cutting out the fat from the budget. host: madison, alabama, on the republican line. good morning. you are on with megan scully. caller: i spent 22 years in the army, most of that as a warrant maintenance officer. as far as getting parts for aircraft, for the average mechanic it is a simple process. he fills out a piece of paper,
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takes it over to the parts room, and the guy looks in a book, the parts manual, and the parts ordered. it is irregardless of the cost because the military cannot just run out on the street and buy a part. it goes pretty well the same way for buying a box of depends. they have to go to the country store, by rules and regulations. they cannot just always rundown aircraft or the local park place and procure a part. it is all governed. the people who buy the parts have no leverage over what it costs. host: puc anyways, in your experience, where things could be done better? -- did you see any ways? caller: that would have to come
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from higher up. they are working at fort hood, or any place like that, they did not get into the cost of items. the only way a company or commander gets into that is like the one gentleman said. and your budget for next year is based on this year. you have to go on an estimate what it will cost you in parts. take, for example, aircraft were you have to make an estimate whether you will have to rebuild one or not and the cost of that. the problem you run into is, who say you do not rebuild that and someone higher up will call and take that money away. guest: one of the interesting points he brought up is that the
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people on the lines do not know what the parts cost. one of the inspector general's suggests putting a price tag on the part so that they know what it costs. anyone who looks at the gear can report it to their manager and so on so that it can get resolved. and also bring up the inventory issue. it is interesting that one of the findings the inspector general found is that they looked at 18 spare parts on this helicopter contract including this gera and -- gera anar and others. mayny were in the department's inventory.
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logistics' and the warehouse for the parts, the manage about $13 billion in the spare parts every year. the army could have gone to them to kill a lot of their needs-- to fulfill their needs. instead they went to boeing. that highlights another problem. host: maryland, ad on the independent line. caller: i am wondering if there is a place where people can tell where there is crap they see and get an award for saving money. guest: i do not believe cell -- monetary.g.'s get any reward. host: is there any reward for calling otut waste? if you do not spend the money allotted for this year's budget,
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then your budget gets ratcheted down, so is there an incentive to make sure you have an up for next year? what is the incentive to save? guest: there is not one. secretary gates did the efficiency initiative and let the services keep the wasteful spending in their budget, that was the biggest incentive that has been out there. even within the services, individual offices were not exactly offering up their problems. people also do not want to get caught. they could get in trouble down the road if, for instance, they came up with $644 gears. there is a lot of issues and whistleblowers have never been popular within the government, however they do have more protection now than they have in the past.
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host: mississippi, billy on the independent line. caller: how are you doing this morning? host: fine. go ahead. caller: i wanted to let megan know that i work for a navy contractor. he built the new lpd's and we are starting on the ddx project. i know for a fact that some of the generators and stuff on these ships, the costs were around $500,000 to $600,000 to have these generators start these engines. there is a lot of good spending and a lot of wasteful spending. i think if a government or the navy is going to have a
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government contract in a shipyard, i think the people at that place are certified to work on that ship should keep contractors from coming in off of the streets. you could save money that way. host: let's get a response. guest: you mentioned two ship problems, the lpd, which is finally getting the costs flattened out. the ddx has curtailed significantly. the navy is only buying three now, in part because of cost problems, and the decision to buy an older destroyer. this is a problem that you see again and again in the military
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programs. my report focused on the spare parts, but when you look at the army canceled a $200 billion program called the future combat system, reluctantly canceled. it came down on high from secretary gates, but they had already spent millions of dollars on the program, and you see this happen again and again, and have to pay contract cancellation fees, termination costs, and it happens repeatedly. it accounts for a lot of the money we spend every year on defense. host: from california author of the democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you? host: go ahead with megan scully. caller: i had been in the contract in business for a lot of years. when you let off a contractor, oftentimes the part or the action they will be doing is
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sent back out to the shops prior so they can get a stab at it as to whether the part or the action is within cost and stuff like that. most of the time the shops are so busy that they do not do anything and it comes back. the contracting officer, now their action is business. they now have business backgrounds. they have so many quarters of business and things like about and it may not be people are familiar with the trade or anything. consequently, that action and review is now very, very important and it is sometimes overlooked. guest: when you look at a defense department and the comptroller said they do 150 million transactions per year and there are 58,000 people who work in

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